Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Founding of Hantes Amsorya - January 1, 1887

The two oldest Armenian periodicals of the world have been published since the nineteenth century and belong to the Mekhitarist Congregation. The first one is Pazmaveb (Բազմավէպ), founded in 1843 in Venice, and the second one is Hantes Amsorya (Հանդէս Ամսօրեայ), founded in 1887 in Vienna. We should note that the Congregation, founded by Mekhitar of Sebastia in 1701 and established in the island of San Lazzaro, in Venice (Italy), in 1717, suffered a division in 1771 and a second branch settled in Vienna (Austria) in 1811. The two branches reunited in 2001 under a single authority with headquarters in San Lazzaro, although the two Mekhitarist monasteries continue their activities.

Father Arsen Aydinian (1825-1902), who was abbot of the Vienna congregation from 1866 until his death, was most famous as the author, in 1866, of a grammar of Modern Armenian which set the grounds for the development of Western Armenian as a literary language. However, he was also the founder of Hantes Amsorya. The name of the journal simply means “Monthly Review.”

The journal succeeded two previous periodicals published by the Viennese monks, Dzanotutiunk vajarakidutian (“Notes of Commerce,” 1819) and Yevroba (“Europe,” 1847-1863). Between 1887 and 1894 it had general educational purposes, but starting in 1895 it became the flagship publication of Armenian Studies in the world until the foundation of the Armenian Academy of Sciences and the Yerevan State University and the publication of regular periodicals of Armenian Studies in the Republic of Armenia. Edited by a member of the Congregation, Hantes Amsorya was initially a monthly (until 1915) and then became bimonthly, quarterly, semi-annual and, since 1980, yearly. Despite the changes in periodicity, it attracted successive generations of Armenian and non-Armenian scholars, who have published articles and lengthy studies in all sorts of disciplines in Armenian, German, English, French, and Italian.

Since the late nineteenth century, most studies first published in Hantes Amsorya have been later reprinted as books in a collection maintained by the Mekhitarist Congregation and called National Library (Ազգային Մատենաշար, Azkayin Madenashar). During the past decade, the journal has been published simultaneously in Vienna and Yerevan.